A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Is it any good?
The movie has a fascinating premise, but it's too dark for most teens, especially younger ones. Writer/director James DeMonaco, who previously wrote the screenplays for The Negotiator and the remake of Assault on Precinct 13, adds a new wrinkle to the "home invasion" subgenre here. His idea of the futuristic "purge" brings up many layers of ideas worth discussing. The Purge is clever enough to begin asking these questions right away and to make the audience implicit in the discourse. It's impossible to watch and not wonder, "What would I do?" and "Is this right or wrong?" Or, worse, "What if it's a little of both?"
The movie isn't quite as clever at its story and character level. The typical cat-and-mouse chases around the house rely on characters never looking in the right place at the right time, and it becomes clear that they're more important to the movie as representations than as sympathetic characters. Only Rhys Wakefield as a strangely polite, intelligent, grinning invader provides anything of human interest. Regardless, a movie this smart and ambitious isn't easy to dismiss.
Talk to your kids about ...
- Families can talk about The Purge's strong violence. Is the violence necessary to express the movie's point? Could it have been less violent? More violent?
- What do you think of the idea of "the purge"? Would it really lower crime and lessen poverty? What other issues does it bring up?
- What's the movie's perspective on business? The rich and poor? What reaction do you think the filmmakers expect from viewers?
- Should Charlie have let in the man calling for help? Why is his good deed punished?
- In theaters: June 7, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: October 8, 2013
- Cast: Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Rhys Wakefield
- Director: James DeMonaco
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong disturbing violence and some language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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